"Auto-Economy" for PC

Hey y’all, so, I’ve been an avid fan of the franchise for years, like most I presume, but the reason I never got into it competitively was because I simply get too stressed out in the lategame. Between managing units, upgrades and economy, something always gets left behind. It’s why I almost exclusively play rush play styles in an effort to avoid getting to the lategame.

Now, I just saw the video of Spirit of the Law reviewing the XBOX version and I have to admit, their new “Auto-Economy” solution seems perfect for the lategame. Early game I can handle, but if I had an AI assist me in the lategame, even if it’s suboptimal, I think I could genuinely enjoy this game again.

What are your thoughts on this?


Good option for beginners.


Yes please implement it to PC client


It isnt a good thing for an rts to get auto ai, I understand that lategame isnt fun for you, but this is no solution as its unfair for the other players, even if the ai eco management isnt perfect. It allows you to focus on your military while others have to multitask.

One of the main points of this game and the entire franchise is to find a balance between economy and military. You cant just remove one of those.

Its like saying chess should allow engines in either openings because some players find it hard to account for every move the opponent makes or in endgames because some players find it hard to win them.

Having it on Xbox is somewhat fair because the controlls are way more difficult to do things quickly with.


I wouldn’t really be a fan of that, because managing all of those things at once is part of the game’s challenge. However I’d be fine with making some tasks (especially repetitive ones) quicker and easier to do depending on how it’s implemented.

For example (without thinking of all the implications): I might be ok with Farm and Fish Trap placement being made easier as long as the player was involved in the decision to make it. A ‘Build Resource’ button could be added to the villager UI where selecting a villager and then left-clicking a Mill/TownCenter/Dock tells the villager to build a Farm/FishTrap around that building. The player would still be involved in the decision of making the Farm/FishTrap, but the AI would assist in its placement. There would be scenarios where the AI doesn’t choose a situationally optimal spot (ex: it wants to place a farm on the side of a TC where the enemy keeps attacking), so it would still be suboptimal in some circumstances.

For villager creation, I could be convinced of an auto-queue villager system of some sort, since ihe challenge should be making sure you have enough resources to sustain production; not making sure you go back to your TC every 30 seconds. Maybe a second create villager button (‘reseed villager’) that automatically starts creating a new villager once the TC build queue is clear; similar to the Mill’s Reseed Farm button but it doesn’t charge the resources up-front.

The main thing is I’d want the player to be actively involved in the decision to make something, and the AI would simply assist in the details.


I think I can faintly hear MBL in the distance beginning “Why don’t we just auto play as well…


How is it unfair to the other players if they have access to the same tools? By that logic, being more skilled is unfair to less skilled players. It’s a shaky argument in my opinion.

Why? You can do anything you like in a game you design, that’s the point. They literally did it in the console version.

Why are you wanting to gatekeep less skilled players from enjoying this mechanic? I’m not saying it should replace the game, it should be optional. You could also split ranked games that use it and those that don’t, if you’re really pedantic about it, though I feel like that is unnecessary. If you look at the breakdown, the way the AI currently does it is equivalent if not worse than a professional player. All you’re doing by adding Auto-Economy is increasing the skill floor of the game, without touching the skill ceiling. It makes it easier for beginners.


Why are you wanting to gatekeep less skilled players from enjoying this mechanic? I’m not saying it should replace the game, it should be optional. You could also split ranked games that use it and those that don’t, if you’re really pedantic about it, though I feel like that is unnecessary.

When it comes to game design, you should keep your systems as similar as possible (single-player vs multi-player, PvE vs PvP, etc) so that it’s easier for players to transition between them. That’s one of the reasons why many games are hesitant to making skill-splits/etc. If you’re wanting this just for single-player, I suppose that could be an option. Although players can already adjust settings by lowering the difficultly, using handicaps, cheats, etc. And Splitting up ranked games based on AI assistance is not going to happen for multiple reasons.

If you look at the breakdown, the way the AI currently does it is equivalent if not worse than a professional player.

No one should expect the AI to be as good as a professional player. However, if you play-against/watch the Extreme AI and compare it with the console’s AI assistance, the console AI is clearly dumbed down. Economy management is one of the AI’s strengths.

It’s better to raise the skill floor by making tedious tasks easier; not by doing those tasks for them. Console is different due to input limitations.

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I think people get hang up on auto because it berry raises floor just slightly.

Higher skill player would use auto more effectively and higher skill player won’t use it at all. Since a.I throws villagers off one thing to other losing time.

Only way it become problem if does it at pro lvl which it doesn’t I would make argument it does at poorly at low end of mid lvl skill.

In end it helps with learning curve that get people play other wise just find to difficult. Once they get decent they slowly wing them self off of it.

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Its an awful idea for PC. Controller has its limitations and makes it harder to do many things at once which is why those features have been added. As far as PC is concerned, handling eco and military is a skill. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend that it gets added to PC. Its ok to have that as a mod for unranked lobbies or some other game modes but not into the mainstream game.


I’m a little torn on this myself.

I love the idea of controller support and the A.I assisted Micro , and yes, I would love to see it come to PC. I am excited that the development team found a new way to make an RTS work with a controller. I think this could be the break we need in order to see other developers take a crack at adapting their RTS game designs to console.

I also hate the idea that “Actions per minute” is an attribute we use to quantify skill level when discussing RTS games, and to that end, I think the “micro” in most RTS games needs to take a good hard look at itself in the mirror and ask itself if it wants to be a strategy game or an action game. There is no right answer and I think we are likely to see future games that tailor themselves to different audiences across the spectrum in that regard. Sort of how we have “Boomer Shooter” and “Modern FPS” design philosophies.

On the flip side, Age of Empires 2 is a game that is over 20 years old and a lot of reason it remains relevant to this day is because the community behind it has kept it alive and breathing. It would feel wrong at this point for a decision to come down from on-high that radically changes the fundamentals of the game as a means of attracting a wider demographic.

I think there is a happy medium here somewhere though. One reason I think the dev team probably hasn’t spoken much about bringing the controller interface to PC is because they want to first see how people end up using it in a live multiplayer environment so they can crunch the numbers and really get some objective measurements in order to discern any disparities between the two interfaces.

My personal guess: Using a Controller raises the floor, but also lowers the ceiling.


Auto economy (and similar features like auto queue) should be like the Handicap feature, something you can enable in the lobby and give to selected players.

I love playing AoE (not just 2) with my friends but some of them have very little experience in the game. It’s not really enjoyable for those players if their more experienced friends have more then twice as many units.
Handicap is one way to work around that but it feel like cheating in some way while it doesn’t help them manage their economy or do multitasking.
But on the other hand it works well together with the handicap system. Giving someone with little experience auto economy with a small handicap (only like 20%) would make them keep up with their friends that regularly play the game and also make them feel like they can contribute something to their team.

I’m against adding the feature to ranked.
Not sure if it should be available in campaigns. Maybe only on low difficulty.
Its kinda close to cheating. But cheats is a core feature of any AoE game.


This is something that I keep coming back to. Elitism seems oddly rampant in RTS communities, people are obsessed about being more skilled than others, they forget that at the end of the day, a lot of people simply play to have fun. And having fun doesn’t just mean using handicaps and playing in non-ranked lobbies, some people like competition and want to push themselves, but they simple cannot pass a specific threshold because of motor skill differences, not because of logical or strategic inability.

In my mind, real-time strategy should focus more on making the strategy part count when it comes to measuring skill, not the real-time part. I’m not saying cutting out all real-time action, you still have to micro units and queue upgrades/units.

AoE2 has added a variety of features that weren’t present in the original game, many of which do radically change the flow of the game (such as new civs). And on that note, I don’t think “Auto-Econ” would radically change the fundamentals, as discussed it pretty much just allows more people to compete on an even playing field. In essence, we’re talking about the equivalent of giving someone a hearing aid when they are hard of hearing.


The “auto-eco” thing might be a bit too much, ### ##### like auto-queue last unit would be nice.

Anything that limits non-decision making actions should be welcome in the game, especially considering how much of tiny little unnecessary stuff this game has.

Also - yes, a lot of people will complain about new “auto” features being added, but all of them can go to hell.

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While I kind agree with this, you also have to consider that its called RTS as a distinction from Round Based Strategy. So basicially by definition, speed matters. Its one of the things that makes those games so intriguing: You need to allocate your ressorces correctly, and player attention absolutly IS a ressource. Im not saying im opposed to any QoL features, but we always have to keep this decision something that matters to the overall game: Do i want to focus on the main battle, or refresh lumbercamps at home? Do i want to snipe villagers with my scouts, or place farms first? Yes, this can result in stress and the feeling that you cant play to your full ability - but if you don’t want to make those decisions at all, you essentially dont want to play an RTS but an RBS.


But… what motor skill differences hold you back? Managing your eco isn’t some uber high APM task. If you’re just there to have fun, why do you even care about suboptimal eco?

And part of that strategy is managing your own eco.

This would end up splitting up the playerbase and is not really great. At best, this should only be a lobby option for custom games, but even then it’s questionable.

Maybe the auto-economy could be included in the handicap settings. At some % of the handicap, the economy parts get somewhat automated.


Honestly I feel like this would be perfectly ok so long as the auto eco isn’t very good, kinda like auto scout we want to lower the entry barrier without lowering the skill ceiling. Any player above 1000 Elo should be able to manage their eco better than whatever the ai can do.


Elitist here: I don’t see this as a problem in RTS or really anywhere else (unless it actually is a clinical obsession). Systems that reward competence tend to be well designed. Sure, some may take this too far, into arrogance (although this is sometimes a tell that something’s off - real pros tend to be humble), but competence and skill achieved through effort is something to be proud of, within reason.

The fun argument is fine, and is already accommodated. What I don’t understand is why players with “great strategy” but weirdly low APM need some kind of flotation to device to gas up their elos to “pass a specific threshold” when no other group of people gets a similarly convenient edge to mask their weaknesses. The elo system already puts you in the ballpark of similarly skilled players. In any case, I doubt there are many Hannibal-level strategists out their locked behind poor APM. Sure, I’m biased because I’ve always had fairly high APM, but that’s always been an important part of the game. There are other games that are optimized for strategy without regard to speed; no need to change AoE2 from what it’s always been into one of those.

Anyway, I’m against further automation, if for no other reason that it sucks up dev resources and has nothing to offer me. I’d much rather the devs fix all the broken stuff in the game than find new ways of providing training wheels to casual players who are already extensively accommodated via single player content, unranked lobbies, handicaps, and a wealth of guides and tutorials in the event that they want to improve their skill levels.


Because the AI management isnt optimal, making higher ranked players or players who dont want to make use of it disadvantaged, because even though it might not be optimal its still way better then not having it at all. So someone using it would be better then someone not (at same rank).

And sure everyone could turn it on, but like I stated, some would dislike ai doing it and others want to be more optimal, but when most players do turn it on, then why play? You are just automizing everything that makes AoE II. Where do you stop with the automatization? People said it wouldnt be more then auto scout if I remember correctly, but look were we are at now.

Because it is AoE II DE, not their “own” game. Ensemble Studios made the original and this is a DE, meaning definitive edition, so it should be as close to the original aa possible in terms of gameplay. If you just change about everything it wouldnt be AoE II anymore but an entirely new game.

Why not remove castles? Or trebuchets? Or the entire man-at-arms line? According to your argument they could do all that perfectly fine as its their game anyways.

Also me and others have already made clear that console has a valid reason, pc doesnt except people saying they arent good at the game, which is not a valid argument. Its valid if you want it for practice, not for multiplayer and ranked. And to be honest I dont think they should have gone the console route at all.

agree auto boom and auto farm for pve players

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